Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/14/1997 04:10 PM MLV

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
             HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON                                        
            MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS                                      
                   April 14, 1997                                              
                      4:10 p.m.                                                
                                                                               
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
                                                                               
Representative Beverly Masek, Chair                                            
Representative Joe Ryan                                                        
Representative Pete Kott                                                       
Representative Eldon Mulder                                                    
Representative Richard Foster                                                  
Representative Reggie Joule                                                    
Representative Irene Nicholia                                                  
                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
                                                                               
All Members Present                                                            
                                                                               
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
                                                                               
* HOUSE BILL NO. 233                                                           
"An Act relating to education benefits for members of the Alaska               
National Guard, Alaska Naval Militia, or Alaska Territorial Guard."            
                                                                               
     - BILL HEARING CANCELLED                                                  
                                                                               
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 143(RLS)                                                
"An Act relating to education benefits for members of the Alaska               
National Guard, Alaska Naval Militia, or Alaska Territorial Guard."            
                                                                               
     - MOVED CSSB 143(RLS) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                    
                                                                               
(* First public hearing)                                                       
                                                                               
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                
                                                                               
BILL: SB 143                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: EDUCATION BENEFITS FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL                         
SPONSOR(S): RULES                                                              
                                                                               
JRN-DATE      JRN-PG         ACTION                                            
03/19/97       782    (S)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
03/19/97       782    (S)   STATE AFFAIRS                                      
04/03/97              (S)   STA AT  3:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                     
04/04/97       984    (S)   STA RPT  4DP                                       
04/04/97       984    (S)   DP: GREEN, DUNCAN, MILLER, WARD                    
04/04/97       984    (S)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DMVA)                            
04/07/97              (S)   RLS AT 10:45 AM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                  
04/09/97      1053    (S)   RULES RPT  CS 1DP AND CALENDAR  4/9/97             
04/09/97      1053    (S)   PREVIOUS ZERO FN APPLIES (DMVA)                    
04/09/97      1055    (S)   READ THE SECOND TIME                               
04/09/97      1055    (S)   RLS  CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                       
04/09/97      1055    (S)   ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT             
04/09/97      1055    (S)   READ THE THIRD TIME  CSSB 143(RLS)                 
04/09/97      1055    (S)   PASSED Y19 N- A1                                   
04/09/97      1065    (S)   TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                 
04/10/97      1053    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
04/10/97      1053    (H)   MLV                                                
04/14/97              (H)   MLV AT  4:00 PM CAPITOL 124                        
                                                                               
WITNESS REGISTER                                                               
                                                                               
TIM BENINTENDI, Legislative Assistant                                          
to Senator Tim Kelly                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                       
State Capitol, Room 7                                                          
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 465-3822                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSSB 143(RLS)                                
                                                                               
CAROL CARROLL, Director                                                        
Administrative Services Division                                               
Department of Military                                                         
  and Veterans Affairs                                                         
P.O. Box 110900                                                                
Juneau, Alaska  99811-0900                                                     
Telephone:  (907) 465-4730                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSSB 143(RLS)                                
                                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                               
                                                                               
TAPE 97-3, SIDE A                                                              
Number 020                                                                     
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BEVERLY MASEK called the House Special Committee on                   
Military and Veterans Affairs meeting to order at 4:05 p.m.                    
Members present at the call to order were Representatives Kott,                
Foster, Joule and Nicholia.  Representatives Mulder and Ryan                   
arrived at their respective times of 4:06 p.m. and 4:10 p.m.                   
                                                                               
CSSB 143(RLS) - EDUCATION BENEFITS FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL                      
                                                                               
Number 030                                                                     
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN MASEK indicated that the committee would consider CSSB
143(RLS), "An Act relating to education benefits for members of the            
Alaska National Guard, Alaska Naval Militia, or Alaska Territorial             
Guard."                                                                        
                                                                               
Number 120                                                                     
                                                                               
TIM BENINTENDI, Legislative Assistant to Senator Tim Kelly came                
forward to testify on CSSB 143(RLS).  This legislation makes                   
changes to the Alaska National Guard Tuition Assistance program.               
It does not address funding or appropriation levels, just simply               
policy changes.  It would give the Adjutant General broader                    
authority to direct funds within the departmental budget in support            
of recruitment and retention objectives.  CSSB 143(RLS) would allow            
the Adjutant General to authorize up to 100 percent payment for                
tuition and required fees at Alaskan institutions where  Guard                 
members might receive training and college course work commensurate            
with the needs and objectives of the Guard.                                    
                                                                               
MR. BENINTENDI added that this raises the Adjutant General's                   
authority from 50 percent payment limitations.  It would also allow            
the Adjutant General to prioritize categories of educational                   
benefits in terms of the needs the Guard may have at the time these            
issues are reviewed.  All of these changes are found in Section 3              
of the bill.  In Section 1, active Guard personnel are identified              
as the group made eligible for educational assistance in Alaskan               
facilities.  Retirees and Territorial Guard members are now                    
excluded since so few funds are available and because Guard                    
leadership must focus on incentive for recruitment, as well as                 
retention of entry level personnel.                                            
                                                                               
MR. BENINTENDI continued that Section 2, provides that recipients              
of educational benefits be students in good standing in a program              
or class work undertaken.  In Section 5, there were a few                      
unnecessary or outdated references repealed.  The committee                    
substitute deleted a sentence found to be outdated and superseded              
by revisions in the Selected Service Act of 1967, which is the                 
governing federal law dealing with Reserve and National Guard                  
personnel.  Federal law is gender neutral.  It provides for                    
personnel to avail themselves the educational benefits during their            
first term of enlistment and not afterward.  Removing this language            
would eliminate the perception of a separate set of criteria for               
men and women.                                                                 
                                                                               
MR. BENINTENDI summarized that he had reviewed the language change             
in the Selective Service law with their bill drafter, the                      
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Administrative                     
personnel and with their research agency.  There has been no                   
opposition.  This legislation is to help the leadership in the                 
National Guard to apply educational benefits when and where they               
feel it is most appropriate under the circumstances.                           
                                                                               
Number 390                                                                     
                                                                               
CAROL CARROLL, Director, Administrative Services Division,                     
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs came forward to testify            
on CSSB 134(RLS).  The Department fully supports this legislation              
and they believed it would give the Adjutant General some                      
discretion with very limited funds, in order to direct these funds             
for recruitment and retention.                                                 
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN MASEK asked if current Guard members would have to sign up            
for an additional six years to be eligible for benefits under this             
statute?                                                                       
                                                                               
Number 480                                                                     
                                                                               
MS. CARROLL responded that they would not.  Usually what the Guard             
would like to require them to do is to complete their initial                  
training which is about a four to six month period.  Then these                
funds would be directed to members.  Individuals already in the                
Guard would not have to sign up for additional six years, although             
the Department would want them to stay a certain number of years if            
education is going to be paid for, but this is not stated in this              
legislation.  This is discretionary.                                           
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE IRENE NICHOLIA asked that when a person signs up for            
the Guard how many years are they signing up for after the six                 
month training?                                                                
                                                                               
Number 540                                                                     
                                                                               
MS. CARROLL responded, two to three years for the Guard and she                
wasn't sure what the stipulations were.                                        
                                                                               
Number 563                                                                     
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE RICHARD FOSTER moved and asked unanimous consent to             
move CSSB 143(RLS) out of committee with individual recommendations            
and accompanying zero fiscal note.  Hearing no objections, CSSB
143(RLS) was moved out of the House Special Committee on Military              
and Veterans Affairs.                                                          
                                                                               
ADJOURNMENT                                                                    
                                                                               
Number 575                                                                     
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN MASEK adjourned the House Special Committee on Military               
and Veterans Affairs meeting at 4:12 p.m.                                      

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